When a company’s sales manager looks at the fresh numbers from a just completed quarter and observes that all sales goals have been achieved, that can only be a good thing, right? Well, let’s talk about that.
Sign No. 1: Sales Goals Not Aggressive Enough
The sobering fact is that a sales team consistently meeting its sales goals could be a sign that a “sales overhaul” is overdue. That’s because a team that consistently hits its marks, month after month, quarter after quarter, may not be challenged enough. It could be an indication that a lot of money is being “left on the table.”
So, consider the possibility that targets met and goals achieved may be indication No. 1 that your company is due for a retooling of the sales strategy.
Sign No. 2: Falling Short
Of course, the most obvious red flag of an underperforming sales department is just the opposite! The sales team consistently falls short of the sales quotas and profits that have been established as goals to be reached.
Very often, the problem is leadership. A lackluster sales team may not be getting the training, resources, pep talks, and performance meetings they need to make them the best they can be. Another factor is the screening of sales calls. Evaluating the actual performance of a sales rep and providing feedback for them is a key element of improving their performance.
Sign. No. 3: Problems in Leadership
This factor builds on what we just talked about in No. 2.
Very often the leadership of a sales team becomes calcified; they are set in their ways and resistant to change. They may balk at trying novel approaches that may carry risk but also bear the potential for significant gains. This includes factors like adopting updated technologies, such as apps and website/digital platform enhancements. Improved telephony is another key area.
Leadership that is unwilling to examine, innovate, reassess old habits, and iterate anew on components of written sales strategies may be failing to squeeze peak efficiency out of the sales process.
Assessment of sales metrics and translating insights gained into actionable improvements is a process that falls into the bailiwick of leadership. Furthermore, leaders of sales departments should be working creatively and in an integrated fashion with the leaders of other departments, such as customer service and finance.
Sign No. 4: Low Morale, Negative Attitudes
Sales teams go south for a variety of reasons. Poor morale may creep up gradually and become a major problem before most realize it is a problem. Once a pervasive negative attitude becomes embedded, breaking out of it can be extremely difficult.
Remember that sales reps are not units of a functioning machine. They are people with feelings. If you put them under constant pressure to meet unrealistic quotas, that can result in burnout and bad attitudes.
The solution is to monitor morale and get to be in touch with how people are feeling. For example, what is the general attitude on display when listening in on sales conversations? One study showed that about 50% of companies do not have strategies for coaching, incentivizing and encouraging sales teams.